What Items Will I Need When Teaching

Whether you are a practicing Tensoku Ryu Sensei or someone studying to achieve that certification you should be mindful of what is required to teach our curriculum. Most Sensei will require all of this equipment eventually, though they usually acquire the equipment as a natural progression of their normal rank training. To train as a Purple Belt students must begin to acquire sparring gear. So most Sensei will have at least some of the required items when they begin teaching students at each level.

This is because a Sensei does not normally teach a student at or above the current rank of the Sensei. A Sensei would not teach a purple belt student if the Sensei has not already earned that ranking in the past. Since the Sensei holds that rank (or above) it is logical to conclude the Sensei will normally possess the equipment needed to attain that rank.

There can be exceptions to this generalization. In this article, we will cover what every Sensei will eventually need.

Sparring Gear

As students reach the rank of Blue Belt (Godan) they begin to spar. You will have already attained that rank before you can teach such students, but you must have adequate sparring gear available for yourself and for any on-location students who have begun sparring but have not yet acquired all the requisite equipment. You would not provide groin and mouth protection devices, but you should have chest protectors and related equipment available that students at your instructional location can use if needed.

Naturally, you do not need to have this equipment for remote students. You should, nonetheless, have sufficient equipment available so you can demonstrate the benefits of the equipment and its proper use to students new to sparring.


Like sparring gear, you should have a handful of relevant weapons available for students to use if the students come to your location to train. Online students will need to acquire their weapons, but you may want to have examples of the types of weapons your students should obtain. You may also want to have an example of the types of weapons students should avoid. This is not a requirement but you may find it useful. We cover that information for students within their Curriculum Courses, but it never hurts to reinforce this information.

Internet Device

You will need to have an Internet device of some kind. This might be a smartphone, a laptop or desktop computer, a tablet, or similar device. You need access to the Sei Tensoku Ryu website if you are to remain informed, interact with your students, and remain current in your teaching practices.

You will also require access to the Internet if you will function as a Freelance Instructor and use video conferencing to teach any of your students.

Video Camera

If you plan to function as a Freelance Instructor teaching students via video conferencing then you will need to have a video camera. This might be a separate camera or might be built into a laptop, phone, or tablet. As long as the camera has reasonably modern resolution and can produce a clear image in the lighting levels available in your training area then you should be fine.


You need to have access to a phone while you are teaching. This can be any cell phone or landline. A phone will prove useful for Internet access while teaching (for example, to review the current student’s Curriculum Card), but this is not the primary reason for this requirement.

The primary need for a phone comes from your need to call emergency services or to seek help for a student who is suffering a medical condition or who has sustained an injury. You do not want to sit by idly while a student a thousand miles away suffers a heart attack and dies while you helplessly watch. You must have at least some hope of obtaining help for students in such circumstances.

We cover this general topic in more detail in the Tensoku Ryu Sensei Course, but for now understand that you will need phone access whenever you teach any student, whether they are physically present or at a remote location. There should be no exception to this requirement.

An Open Mind

One of the most important requirements is that you maintain an open mind. You will encounter material and concepts that may run counter to what you have thought, learned, or studied in the past. This does not mean what you thought to be true is false, but it often means there are other ways to look at things and situations in which it may not be true.

Tensoku Ryu challenges many assumptions about movement and human behavior. This is a constant in our art. If you do not remain mentally flexible you will soon become lost. We are about a lot more than kicking and punishing an opponent. If that remains your only mindset then you will miss out on a lot of potential growth.

Dojo or Training Space

You will need a place to teach. If you teach from a Dojo then that problem is largely solved. If you teach as a Freelance Instructor then you need an adequate area where you can teach. You need a space that will allow you to demonstrate Kata, swing large weapons such as the Bo, and accommodate any students that will visit your location.

These needs do not diminish if you only teach online courses. You may not need room to host ten students, but you will still need to swing around a Bo and demonstrate the several Kata requiring a substantial amount of room.

While you can always find ways to use a smaller space, you will benefit from having a space large enough to perform instruction without too many compromises.

Safety Equipment

We cover safety equipment more thoroughly in relevant lessons in the Tensoku Ryu Sensei Course, but we will cover some of the things you will need in this section.

You must have a comprehensive first aid kit if you will have students practicing or taking lessons in your facilities. You need to be prepared in the event someone suffers an injury or a medical condition in your facilities.

It does not take long in our system before students begin to tumble and fall. Basic rolling and falling are taught to beginning students. When practicing Nage (throws) you will need a protective landing surface or mat area. This does not apply if all your students are remote, but if you have students come to your training facilities then you need appropriate matting on which students can practice these skills. You must not allow students to fall or roll on hard surfaces.

Yes, students can learn how to fall and roll on hard surfaces. Yes, that is a requirement in some martial arts systems. However, the chances for injuries, especially for new students and students with various physical conditions, increases substantially when training on a hard surface. We do not wish to see students injured unnecessarily.

This does not mean your entire floor needs to be matted. You can set aside smaller matted areas where students can practice these skills. This can help keep your costs in check while also providing the required level of safety.

When teaching rolling, falling, and throwing skills to remote students you need to caution them to obtain a landing surface that will reduce the student’s chances for injury.

Sanitation Equipment

You may not need much in the way of sanitation equipment if you only teach online courses. If you have students who visit your facilities then you will need various forms of sanitation equipment.

We cover these needs in detail in the Tensoku Ryu Sensei Course, but in general, you need a way to keep yourself and your students safe from infection. This means sanitizing matted areas, keeping any restrooms or other common facilities clean, sterilizing communal weapons and training equipment, and sanitizing any areas where blood or other bodily fluids land on training surfaces.

The specific equipment and supplies needed will vary depending on the training you offer, but this often involves sanitizing fluids and cleaners, rags, mops, towels, and other items. If you have a surface area that multiple students may touch, you need a way to sanitize it regularly.

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